Dimensions: 22.5 × 35cm
Medium: Oil on panel
Collection: Niland Collection
Provenance: Presented to Sligo County Library and Museum, 1965 by James A. Healy as a memorial to his parents John and Catherine Healy.
This early oil painting is typical of the type of work Jack Yeats was producing around 1912. The oil is thickly applied but kept within the boundaries of the outline of the various elements, rather like a direct development of Yeats’s work as an illustrator. The composition is carefully worked out with the dark figure of the man outlined against the pale grey of the sky and the street behind him. Yeats’s use of colour is equally restrained. The predominant tones of black and grey are relieved by the blue of the sea and the bright red of the sailor’s hair and beard and his exotic looking crios style belt.
The man toasts his return from the sea. He wears a nautical style cap and stands on a roadway leading directly down to the shoreline. This setting is probably inspired by Rosses Point in Co. Sligo. The seafarer cuts a bizarre figure, conspicuous by his dark suit and red hair. Yeats hints at the adventurousness of the sailor’s life and at the way in which his presence on land introduces an exciting element into ordinary village life.
Written by Roisin Kennedy